Online Guide for Newcomers to Prince Edward Island - Canada
Travelling To and From PEI
When the train system was completely abandoned in 1989, the idea was born to turn the railways into recreational trails. So today we have the Confederation Trail, a continuous multi-purpose path across the Province. Islanders and visitors alike enjoy the pastoral landscape while walking, jogging and cycling along the Trail.
In the past, transportation between the mainland and PEI revolved around ferry systems and railways. Some significant events have considerably increased the speed of transportation to and from the Island:
- In 1989 the railways were abandoned in PEI, in favour of more and better highways.
- In 1997 the construction of the Confederation Bridge was finalized and it was open for traffic.
- With an increased population and business bloom in PEI in the first decade of the century, the number of flights at Charlottetown Airport has increased, including international ones.
Today, for travellers to or from PEI, there are several options:
- bus or shuttle service, or
- vehicles via the Confederation Bridge
There are identification requirements for air travel within Canada. All passengers aged 12 and over are required to present one piece of valid government-issued photo ID showing their name, date of birth and gender.
Charlottetown Airport is the only passenger airport in PEI. There are direct flights to Halifax, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal in Canada, and some cities in the USA. Seasonally there are direct flights to specific vacation destinations. The closest international airport is the Moncton International Airport in New Brunswick.
The airport is about 10 minutes drive from downtown Charlottetown.
PEI has two ferry ports:
- Wood Islands ferry sails to Nova Scotia. This ferry crossing takes 65-75 minutes. The fare (fee for using the ferry) is paid only when leaving PEI. This ferry runs for eight months of the year, from May 1st to December 20th, if the weather and ice conditions allow.
- Souris ferry sails to Îles de la Madeleine. This ferry ride takes five hours. The fares are paid going both ways.
Bus or Shuttle Service
There are shuttle and bus services for travelling off Island. A shuttle is a van used for transport of a smaller group of people. Shuttles travel daily to Halifax.
Maritime Bus offers bus lines to many places in the Maritime provinces (PEI, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia) and Eastern Québec. Check the Yellow Pages to find more bus and shuttle transportation services. [See Related Resources]
Vehicles Via the Confederation Bridge
The 13 kilometres long Confederation Bridge is the longest bridge in the world over ice-covered waters. The curved engineering masterpiece runs from Borden-Carleton in PEI to New Brunswick. Bridge tolls are for the round trip, and are paid only when leaving PEI.
When choosing to leave or come to the Island by the bridge or the ferry, note that the bridge is the faster way, without schedules. The ferry charges a little more, but you are not using your gasoline or putting kilometres on your car. The ferry also gives you a break from driving.